Only nine years have passed since Apple launched a new device category with the first iPad. Since then, not only have countless tablets been sold, but new mobile computers with a wide variety of form factors have come onto the market. In addition to classic laptops, there are now mobile computers such as convertibles, detachables (2-in-1 devices) and tablets on the shelf. And while sales of PCs, notebooks and tablets are falling, ultra-flexible convertibles and 2-in-1 computers are becoming increasingly popular. According to IDC, 392.5 million computers were sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2019. A third of these, or 113.9 million, were tablets, 72.4 million classic notebooks and 39.7 million convertibles.
Computer for the couch
The increased interest in flexible computers is not surprising. After all, convertibles or detachables should combine the best of the notebook and tablet world. For example, the convertible turns a notebook into a tablet by folding it over a hinge. And with hybrid or 2-in-1 computers, the screen can be separated from the docked keyboard and used independently of it as a tablet. So these mobile computers are tablet and notebook in one. Nevertheless, notebooks and tablets as standalone devices also have a reason to exist. Be it as a designated workhorse or as a handy surfing device; they have become firmly established in everyday life. The classic notebooks are clearly designed for work. Regardless of whether it’s a desktop replacement, they go with you on a business trip as an extended arm of your office computer or do correspondence with authorities at home in the living room: They show their strengths at work.
Performance and endurance
Basically, notebook batteries are less durable than batteries from tablets. But it’s not just their size – in watt hours (Wh) or milliampere hours (mAh) that is decisive. Rather, performance and display size are decisive. That is why, among other things, processors are installed in tablets that deliver the best possible performance, but develop little heat and guarantee long battery life. CPUs from Qualcomm are often used in the top Android models. It is usually the same processors that set the pace for premium smartphones. Intel processors are not uncommon for Windows tablets, which, like Microsoft’s Surface devices, are primarily entering the market as detachables. Cheap devices are often powered by chips from Intel’s Atom family.
The Windows tablets are in no way inferior to the classic notebooks in their class in terms of their performance. This also applies to the main memory. While there are sometimes more than eight GB of RAM in high-end devices, usually only two or four GB of RAM work in entry-level models. And similar to notebooks, the most diverse configurations of processors, memory or display size are available with Windows tablets. Which naturally also makes itself felt in the price.
In the end, both tablets and notebooks have their pros and cons and the decision oof which device to use depends on the user’s main interests.